New Castle, originally the seat of the von Bismarck family, currently the meeting hall of the City Council and Płoty Commune, wedding hall, museum, Płoty
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New Castle, originally the seat of the von Bismarck family, currently the meeting hall of the City Council and Płoty Commune, wedding hall, museum

Płoty

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One of the most representative noble residences in Pomorze, built in the beginning of the 17th century and extended ca. 1910. Part of the unique urban complex with two castles situated next to each other.

History

Probably in the third quarter of the 16th century a new residence in a proximity of the “Old Castle” was built. The founder was Vedig von Osten, who after banking bankruptcy of the Loitz family sold a Medieval residence and part of the Płoty town to the von Bluecher family, with obtained money he built a new seat - large knight manor with a bell tower, adjoining complex of farm buildings, small rampart and a moat. The structure did not have military functions, and a moat and rampart were common elements of the noble families seats at that time. Some of the researchers connect the construction of the manor with Wilhelm Zachariasz, the construction of the Castle in Szczecin.

Unspecified construction works were conducted in the 17th century, which is documented by volute gables crowning the gatehouse.

In the 1st half of the 18th century the manor complex was modernised under the influence of new ideas in architecture - two side wings were added to the Renaissance body and a Baroque garden was established at a side.

In the 4th quarter of the 18th century or in the 19th century a landscape park was established, the area of which was gradually enlarged in subsequent years. Most probably

in the 1st half of the 19th century a Renaissance building was extended upwards with one storey.

The last male descendant of the von Osten family died on 17 March 1895. The eldest of his daughters - Elisabeth, married Philip von Bismarck, nephew of the chancellor Otton von Bismarck. The goods were inherited by Karl Bernhard, the son of Philip von Bismarck. In 1906 he was granted a count title and a by-name added to surname - “von Bismarck-Osten” from emperor Wilhelm II.

In the years 1910-1912 a Renaissance manor was extended, transforming into large palace complex designed by Paul Korff from Mecklenburg. The residence was then given the current appearance. During the reconstruction a Renaissance body was preserved, to which two wings in eclectic forms were added. A library was established there, which included the collections of famous “Biblioteka Pomorska” [Library of Pomorze], gathered by a manor chamberlain - Friedrich Wilhelm von Osten. The collection included the manuscripts (approx. 300 volumes), documents and old prints connected with Pomorze and a valuable collection of coins from Pomorze. The collection of tapestries of Brussels from ca. 1650 was also unusually valuable; they were exhibited in a room built specifically for that purpose. In the post-war period most of the palace fittings become lost or damaged. In 1945 Red Army hospital was located there. From 1947 a State Secondary School of Life Sciences was functioning in the palace, in 1949 transformed into a State Four-year Agricultural Highschool (from 1951 a State Four-year Agricultural Technical School). Until 1974 the structure functioned as a school and boarding house, from 1974 - only as a boarding house.

Description

“New Castle” palace complex is located in the south-western part of the town, on the terrace-shaped, picturesque hill. Residence is surrounded by a large park with numerous old-growth trees. In the vicinity, on the western side of the hill, a Medieval seat, called an “Old Castle” is located. To the South from both residences overlooking the landscape Rega river flows, the riverbed of which, located in a valley, is shaped in the form of meanders.

Residence was erected in a late north-European Renaissance style, extended in eclectic forms referring to classicising Baroque, north-European Renaissance (Deutsche Renaissance) and - to a small extent - to Modernism emerging at that time.

The complex consists of a residential building, gatehouse with outbuildings and a park. Picturesque, three-wing body with a high tower, decorative gables and numerous avant-corps and terraces were covered with roofs of different forms and height. Moreover, a large, multi-level terrace adjoins the building from the West. All of the buildings were made of brick. In the southern (late Renaissance) wing barrel vaults in the basement were preserved and barrel vaults with lunettes in the Knight Hall on the first floor. The rooms of the remaining wings were covered with reinforced concrete ceilings with very different forms, stylised for the vaults or beam and coffer ceilings.

All of the facades of the building are assymetrical, shaped very individually and differently. The walls are pierced with various windows in respect of size and shape in the form of ovals, standing and lying rectangles. Only the facades of the late Renaissance wing stand out with symmetrical composition and modest detail. Western façade, framed at sides by side wings, was enriched in the central part with a three-sided entrance avant-corps, rectangular tower and ground floor terrace. Main entrance to the building is accentuated by neo-Baroque portal. Moreover, northern and eastern facades are decorated with lavish multi-storey gables framed with volutes. At the ground floor of the Renaissance southern wing, by the north-western corner, a tombstone of Vedig von Osten and his wife - Anna von Massow, was embedded. In the south-western corner of the northern wing there is an erection board of the “New Castle” with Bismarcks’ and Ostens’ coats of arms and an inscription: GRAF KARL UND GRAFIN HILDA BISMARCK - OSTEN HABEN TURM UND ANBAU AN DAS ALTE SCHLOSS ANFERTIGEN LASSEN I. J. CHR. MCMX.

Interior layout is two-and-a-half-bay one, irregular and assymetrical in the 20th century part, and one-bay in the Renaissance wing. Main entrance leads to an octagonal vestibule, from which the hall can be accessed on the southern side and a corridor on the northern side. The hall with a complicated floor plan and diverse levels is the most flamboyant room in the building. Representative character can be also noticed in the former Knight Room in the Renaissance wing, as well as the dining room, wedding hall, lord’s chamber, “light blue” and “blue” boudoir in the 20th century part of the residence. Special character of the interior is due to a lavish architectural setting, with vaults and ceilings using sculpture technique. In the hall a neo-Renaissance chimney and columns were preserved and they stylistically refer to the chimnery and columns of the “Old Castle.” Entrance leading to the staircase of the southern wing (originally main entrance door) is preceded by the Renaissance portal, crowned with a pediment and decorated ornamental polychromy. Dining room was decorated with a wall painting representing the panorama of the Płoty town from 1736. The interior is also decorated with marble cladding, wainscoting, flooring, parquets, sculpted door woodwork, stairs balustrade.

Limited access to the historic building. Visiting the inside of the structures requires prior arrangements.

Compiled by Radosław Walkiewicz, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Szczecin, 2014.

Bibliography

  • Berghaus K., Labdbuch des Herzogstums Pommern und Fürstentums Rügen, vol. 2, part 7: Der Kreis Regenwalde, Berlin-Wriezen-Angermünde 1872.

  • Bethe H., Die Schlösser in Stargordt und Plathe, „Monatsblätter der Gesellschaft für Pommersche Geschichte und Altertumskunde” 1931, vol. 16.

  • Lemcke H., Die Bau und Kunstdenkmäler des Regierungsbezirks Stettin, z. 10: Der Kreis Greifenhagen, Stettin 1912, pp. 354-371.

General information

  • Type: palace
  • Chronology: początek XVII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: H. Sienkiewicza , Płoty
  • Location: Voivodeship zachodniopomorskie, district gryficki, commune Płoty - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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